Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! We hope your 2016 is filled with fun and exciting adventures.

Can’t believe January has already come and gone…wow!

There’s so much happening – here are just a few highlights…

  • FSU CARD, along with the other CARD Centers throughout Florida, participated in CARD Day at the Capitol this past Tuesday. A special shout out to the families who had time to speak with their Legislators about what CARD has done for them. CARD Day at the Capitol is an annual event and if you are interested in learning more about it or would like to participate next year, please let us know.
  • Registration for the 2016 Autism Superhero 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run is now open. The 9th annual 5K is scheduled for April 9th at the Northwood Centre in Tallahassee. Visit our website to register and for more details about the run and family activities. We need your help. This is a fundraising event and we need sponsors and volunteers. The funds raised during this 5K go directly to support clients and client services. Contact Kendra Adams at with any questions.
  • The annual Summer Training Institute on Autism is scheduled for June 20, 21, & 22, 2016, in Tallahassee. Mark your calendars! Topics this year will be Instructional Technology, Mathematics Instruction and Access to the General Curriculum. More information coming soon.Visit our website often for more training information and upcoming events.


Lindee Morgan, PhD
Director, FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities


Text Messaging: It’s Important

Many of today’s children begin carrying their own phones as early as late elementary school. For some it is a safety measure imposed by their parents, for others it is simply a method for staying socially connected to friends from school. For children with autism spectrum disorder, it presents an opportunity for social interaction on a more even basis than perhaps they had experienced previously. Some adults with ASD have commented that communicating via text or social media reduced their anxiety and enhances their ability to interact and communicate effectively. They report that they have more time to look at the message, take time to understand its meaning, and formulate a response without the time pressure of a face-to-face conversation.   If you have a child that is the right age to learn to text, here are a few tips to make it as beneficial as possible.

  1. Make sure they know the lingo and the etiquette (e.g. understand the acronyms, all caps is yelling, etc.).
  2. Remind them to take time to look at their message before sending to try to make sure they don’t accidentally send something embarrassing or offensive.   It is also good to remember that even for people without ASD, sarcasm is difficult to understand in text messages.
  3. Safety, safety, safety. Teach them to not accept text from someone they do not know, be careful about the sending or receiving of digital images, and if an interaction becomes uncomfortable or bullying, make sure they know who to notify.
  4. Teach them what sort of news constitutes a text vs. a phone call. “I forgot my lunch” is okay for a text. “I’m throwing up, please come get me,” probably needs both forms. “The house is on fire” is definitely a phone call (to 911).



Student of the Month Spotlight

VSA Florida is proud to announce Bailey Houghton as one of the January 2016 Students of the Month.

18-year-old Bailey Houghton attends Leon High School in Tallahassee and was nominated by Autism Consultant Allison Leatzow of the FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (FSU CARD). She writes, “Bailey’s creativity and imagination speaks for her and in some ways, are representative of her true self.” For six years, Bailey has been honing her skills through art camps, piano lessons and school choruses. Read More >>

CARD Training Information

Adult training flyer
Adult Awareness Training Flyer
Adult Awareness Training –
12 Week Series
Ft. Walton Beach

Starting February 2, 2016


Monday Meet-Ups

Tallahassee, FL



Monday Meet-Ups
Tallahassee, FL


Monday Meet-Ups
Tallahassee, FL 


Peer Support Program for College Students with Autism** – (TLH)
Tallahassee, FL

Starting Spring 2016

The support group includes information about:

The College Transition Coach Program is designed to promote optimal success within the college environment for adult students with ASD through the support of trained peer mentors. **Student participants will receive a $50 gift card at the completion of the semester. Learn More >>

Community Training Information

FSU College of Education is offering:

University Of Miami, Department of Psychology Research Study:

Do you have a child with autism? Would you and our partner be willing to participate in a research study? Learn More >>

Sensorimotor & Social Communication Skills:

Using a neuro-physiological approach, the “PLAYBIG Method” of big movement, sensation, emotion, & affect engages children in social play and learning; unlocking their individual potential for connecting with others. Register now – Limited spots Learn More >>

Special Needs Registry for Emergency Management

The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in coordination with each local emergency management agency in the state, developed a registry to allow residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The registry also allows facilities that provide assistance to individuals with special needs a system to register. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.

Click here to register >>



2nd Round of National Recognition Initiative Launches!

On January 6, 2016, AFAA announced the second round of AFAA Applauds, a national recognition initiative highlighting the most promising programs in the U.S. for adults living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With this effort, AFAA plans to promote promising practices, innovative approaches and awareness about the needs of adults with autism.

More Information >>

In the News

Kindergarten teacher reading to children in library

School Choice

Be Aware of Deadlines

Parents want the best education for their child and choosing a school is one of the most difficult decisions to make.

Florida Department of Education School Choice Scholarship Options

The State of Florida provides a variety of scholarship opportunities that allow families to choose certain schools for their child.   To learn more about a variety of school options, visit the Florida Department of Education School Choice website or call 1-800-447-1636.

District Public School Options

Each school district offers different options and deadlines regarding choosing another public school within the district. For information, visit your local school district’s website or phone your district’s school choice office.

Some things to think/ask about when choosing a school:

  • Does the school have experience supporting students with ASD and how open are they to meeting the needs of a student with ASD?
  • Is the program inclusive (Are children without disabilities included with the children with disabilities)?
  • How will your child be supported for success?
  • Do the teachers have the support that they need?
  • How will progress be monitored and reported?
  • For Private Schools – will you owe tuition/fees in addition to your scholarship?